The Yorkton Harvest proved they can compete with the best of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League last week, winning three in a row.
“We showed we can not only compete, but that we can beat any team in this league,” says Harvest head coach Jeff Odgers. “Since I have been the head coach, we haven’t been able to get a string of wins like that. It was a huge confidence booster for our squad.”
The Harvest kicked off their winning streak on Wednesday, January 9 at the Gallagher Centre against the ninth-place Notre Dame Argos.
Lynden Pastachak and Levi Morin potted two goals apiece to lead the Harvest to a 6-4 win over the Argos.
Korwin Shewchuk scored the first goal of the contest only 18:27 into the opening period.
The Harvest ran into puck-stopping problems shortly after Shewchuk’s marker, though. Kirll Metyluk, Chandler Knibb, Makia Holdener, and Brett Radford found the back of Spencer Bomboir’s net on just 10 shots.
Pastachak breathed life back into the Harvest by cutting the Argos’ lead down to two with 5:53 left in the first period.
Morin opened up the scoring in the second on the power play at the 14:27 mark.
Pastachak tied the game at four with his second of the night less than four minutes after Morin’s goal.
With only 2:18 left in the second, Corwin Stevely lit the lamp for his second of the year to give Yorkton the lead.
Morin scored the lone goal of the third period with only 1:50 left in it to close out the contest.
The victory over Notre Dame came without Odgers behind the bench. He was away from Yorkton because of his other job as a colour commentator for Shaw’s Western Hockey League broadcasts.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t checking the score during my Shaw game,” he said. “When I saw we were down by three, I thought we were in tough shape to battle back and get the win. But the boys kept on competing and were determined to beat the Argos.”
Yorkton kept the ball rolling in their second match on the road against the Saskatoon Contacts, who are tied for second place in the league.
Pastachak continued his scoring streak against the Contacts, leading the Harvest with a hat trick to a 6-3 win.
The Contacts jumped out in front early with rookie forward Kade Kehoe sneaking one past Carson Bogdan at the 18:21 marker.
Eric Meyer knotted the game up at one in the latter half of the first period.
Pastachak and Kehoe exchanged goals in the second to head into the final period with a 2-2 tie.
Jeremy Leclerc gave the Contacts the lead in the first minute of the third on the man advantage.
Pastachak and Meyer notched their second goals of the night in just over a minute in the middle of the third to give the Harvest a one-goal lead.
“Lynden and Eric scored two huge goals for us,” says Odgers. “We really needed them at the time being down by one, and they came up big for us.”
Logan Herchak scored his first of the night and Pastachak closed out his hat trick with empty net goals to finish out the match.
“It was a huge game for our confidence,” says Odgers. “The Contacts are one of the best teams in the league. It gave our guys a lot of confidence that we can beat the top teams in the league.”
The following night the Harvest took on Saskatoon’s other squad, the Blazers, who sit right behind Yorkton in the standings in eighth spot.
Strong goaltending and another stellar performance from Pastachak helped the Harvest squeeze out their third consecutive win, beating the Blazers 4-2.
“It is always tough when you play back-to-back games, especially against two good teams like Saskatoon have,” says Odgers. “I was worried going into Saskatoon that we would come out slow in our second game because we would be tired and sitting around all day before the game.”
“I was really proud of our guys and excited when they pulled together and got the win.”
Blueliner Ethan Bear scored the lone goal of the first period to put the Harvest out in front.
Koal Roberts kept the momentum in favour of Yorkton by scoring his first goal as a Harvest in the first five minutes of the second period.
“It was nice to see him pot one. It sure didn’t take him long at all,” says Odgers, alluding to Roberts has only played two games with Yorkton.
But the Blazers wouldn’t say die. Josh Reinbolt and Robbie Cameron sniped markers past Harvest netminder Carson Bogdan to tie the game up at two.
Pastachak, a Red Deer Rebels prospect, closed out the second by doing what he does best – scoring goals. He notched his first of the game with 2:22 remaining to give Yorkton a one-goal lead.
The third period was scoreless until the final minute when Pastachak notched an empty netter to nail down the win.
Having scored seven goals in the Harvest’s three-game win streak, Odgers is extremely impressed with his leading-scorer Lynden Pastachak.
“He has been huge for us,” he said. “He scores so many clutch goals when we need one. He also has been key for us on the penalty kill. He blocks shots and does whatever it takes to get that puck out of our end. You can’t teach his instincts. He just knows where to go and what to do.”
Odgers also noted he was very happy with Bodgan’s performance between the pipes.
“He was very strong for us in Saskatoon,” he said. “When we would be up by a couple goals he would make key saves that would allow us to hold onto that lead. And when we were down by a goal he made several key saves to keep the game close so we could battle back and get the win.”
With the six points the Harvest accumulated over last week, they now sit in seventh spot in the league with a 14-14-2-2 record.
The red-hot Harvest will attempt to keep their win streak going against the Moose Jaw Generals at home on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
“It is a big game for us against the Generals,” says Odgers. “They beat us a couple weeks ago in our own building. So we want to make sure they won’t make it two in a row.”